Snow covered ground is not the place to be riding a motorcycle so when winter comes bikes will have to be stored away. But what is the best and safest way of motorbike storage?
For motorbike enthusiasts who live in cold northern climates, where snow covers the ground for much of the winter, it is unlikely you will be riding your motorbike for several months of the year. So where should you store your valuable motorbike and what is the best and safest way to store it?
There are so many types of motorbike, from scooters for getting around town to stylish cruisers for touring your favourite places to vintage style beauties for riding to be seen. You might have a top end race machine, an off-road bike or a moped but whatever type of machine you own it is important to store it properly if you won’t be riding it for several months at a time.
Self storage facilities have become a popular place for winter storage of motorbikes for those without their own garage facilities. They are both secure and affordable and usually less expensive than renting a garage, particularly in cities where garage space is at a premium.
But wherever your bike is being stored follow these simple steps before storing it away for the winter.
1. Firstly, and most importantly, drain all the fuel from the tank and also from the carburettor. If you do not do this the old fuel can tarnish the pistons when you restart the engine and damage the fuel injectors. Petrol can also absorb water from its surroundings, which can lead to corrosion of the fuel tank, carburettor or fuel injectors if the petrol and water mix are sitting in the system for a long period of time. Even good storage containers will contain moisture in the air so unless you plan to use a storage place with a dehumidifier, this moisture can be a potential problem.
2. Refer to your motorcycle handbook for your particular model to check on the advisability of removing the battery. For most older bikes this would be recommended but for some newer bikes with onboard computers it is not advised as the functioning of the computer can be adversely affected by removal of the battery for a long period of time. If the battery is removed then connect it up to a trickle charger that will only charge up the battery if it is running low.
3. Replace the old engine oil with new oil and lubricate all accessible metal parts to protect from corrosion by the moisture in the air.
4. Top up the antifreeze/coolant in the radiator to the correct proportions for the typical winter temperatures in your area.
5. Lift your motorcycle onto blocks to take the weight off the tyres and reduce the stress on them.
6. Wash your motorbike thoroughly to remove all traces of dirt, which could, over time, damage the paintwork then wax and lubricate it to protect it from the moisture in the air.
7. Cover the bike with a breathable dust cover or an old sheet. Do not cover it with plastic sheeting as condensation can form underneath the plastic and cause damage to the bike over time.
8. If a motorbike has been left in storage for several months then it is essential to perform safety checks before starting it again for the first time. But providing you have prepared your bike well for storage there should not be any problems when you come to use it again in the spring.
Here are some basic safety checks:
- Check the oil level
- Check the tyre pressures
- Check that you can use all gears
- Check the brake fluid level
- Check the brakes work before riding the motorbike
Ride the bike carefully at first to double check everything is functioning properly. Using a storage facility for winter storage of a motorcycle requires thorough preparation of the bike beforehand and safety checks afterwards, but a London self-storage unit is often the most secure and cost effective way to protect your bike over the winter period.